The Oxford dictionary has added the word “retweet” to the English dictionary. For those of us addicted to Twitter, we are very familiar with this term and use it frequently as well as its acronym RT. Apparently retweet has become active enough in the casual lexicon to warrant dictionary recognition.
Here is the formal Oxford definition of retweet:
(on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user):tweet the URL of your posting: people love to retweet job ads
a reposted or forwarded message on Twitter:traffic spiked quickly and contained a mix of retweets and original posts
For the copy-editors of the group you will be happy to note that this entry does solve some of the copy editing question of the proper punctuation of retweet. It is not a proper noun, so it does not need to be capitalized. It is being written as a complete word, as opposed to a word with “re” added to the front. So “reTweet” or “ReTweet” is not correct.
Despite solving some grammatical questions, adding retweet to the English dictionary reinforces the influence of social media on everyday society. It is becoming a part of our daily life and vocabulary. Even people who do not participate in the social networks understand what these words are referencing, even if they do not understand the specific dynamics. This is much like when the personal computer started becoming mainstream and words like hard drive and processor speed became a part of common conversation.
Social media is here to stay and is becoming more integrated into our culture. As a celebration and recognition of the official entry of retweet into the dictionary, I right clicked on the word and officially added it to my computers dictionary.